Friday, November 01, 2019

"Conflict Avoidance Creates More Conflict"

Jeremiah 48.10 NAS

Cursed be the one who does the Lord’s work negligently, and cursed be the one who restrains his sword from blood.”

“The Lord’s work” may sometimes require a little conflict. I must be ready to engage in the battle or accept the cursed consequence of conducting His work “negligently.”  
Occasionally,“the Lord’s work” may require that I disagree with a friend, give unwelcome advice, or discipline a child. If harmony is the highest goal, then I diminish “the Lord’s work” in the name of peace. Resolution is always the goal, so I must be loving, tactful, and gracious, while remaining resolved to face critical issues at any cost. Nothing good comes from hiding my head in the sand. I must use finesse, but still make the point.

Dr. Tammy Lenski is “known for approaching sticky situations with a lion’s heart.”[1] Listed below are the three most common reasons for conflict avoidance, according to Dr. Lenski:
  1. It will hurt the relationship.
  2. It won’t make any difference.
  3. I don’t want to seem aggressive.
Her analysis hits close to home for me. Conflict is near the top of my 'What I Dislike Most in Life' list. However, certain things, like “the Lord’s work,” matter. When something matters, I must make my beliefs known regardless of the consequences.

A word of caution: If the goal of a conflict is to change someone, give it up. That’s not “the Lord’s work” for me. That’s “the Lord’s work” for the Lord! Comedian David Sedaris said, “I haven’t got the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.”

Conflict avoidance creates conflict of the soul. An individual who refuses to engage conflict and strives for harmony at any cost will eventually discover that doing “the Lord’s work negligently” will bring a cursed outcome. He drives a silent wedge in relationships and unwittingly destroys the potential for resolution. Conflict adverse people live the secret life of Walter Mitty [2] and suffer the curse of isolation. No pain (from conflict), no gain (of intimacy). When the conflict is issue-centered and the Holy Spirit prompts you to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4.15 NLT), then do just that.

[1] “Jump-Start Genuine Dialogue with Tammy Lenski” at

[2] "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber first appeared in The New Yorker magazine on March 18, 1939, and later collected in his a book entitled My World and Welcome to It (James Thurber, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1942). 


One Sided said...

Okay I have drawn my sword, yet I am not sure where to strike.

Seem like I need a surgeon's scalpel not a sword.

Yet in either case you can not leave the wrong to fester, it has to be exposed, removed, amputated.

All the while I worry about the scaring, and if I am the one who should be drawing blood.

After all I have a lot this is not right within me . . . . or is that just another excuse to avoid doing what needs done?

If you read between thses lines you can see I am being asked to advise, were I am not comfortable offering advise. Yet everthing in me says just tell it like you see it.

davescriven said...

Hi One-Sided,

I was just thinking about you this morning. Was hoping to hear again from you soon.

I tend to lean toward the side of "just tell it like you see it". But I struggle within myself every time I sense the need to do so.

Your Fellow Struggler,

One Sided said...

The other side of the coin would be the person who does not struggle.

So I am thinking the struggle is good.

but is is still a struggle.

davescriven said...

Right on, One-Sided!


Anonymous said...

I was just reading this scripture and find that it is true, and often people do nt take kindly to the facts. The common "Seem like I need a surgeon's scalpel not a sword", is perfect to which I relate the surgeon had to be skillful and thoughtful to perform surgery on my husbands broken neck in order to not paralyze him for life.


davescriven said...

Thank you for the comment, Marcia.